Whining about the weather. Nothing to see, move it along.

You know that Jack London short story about the guy trekking through the Yukon in the dead of winter? And the temperature’s considerably colder than 50 below, and he’s got a beard of ice hanging from his face, and his attempts at starting a fire fail because he’s rapidly losing all feeling in his hands? And he’s too far from civilization to call for help, and nobody’s there except for his dog? And then at the end he freezes to death? Yep. That would be today in most of the northeast.

It wasn’t quite that cold here. But there were more than a few moments on my way to work this morning when I remembered that story, and wished I hadn’t been made to read it in middle school, because one really doesn’t want to be thinking about freezing in the wilderness while the wind rushes right through one’s three or four layers of clothing. (You know it’s really cold when even the extra-dorky wool hat with the earflaps doesn’t keep your head warm.)

I am now going to sack out on the couch with a lap robe, a DVD, and a pot of tea. Regular non-whiny posting will resume when I can get Jack London’s man-vs.-the-elements plot out of my head.

3 Responses to “Whining about the weather. Nothing to see, move it along.”

  1. wolfa says:

    It was, in fact, almost that cold here. But I have walls and ceilings and heaters and stuff, so that was ok.

  2. sab says:

    Yes, I remember teaching that story. The point I recall getting the students to discover for themselves (aka subliminally forcing it down their throats) was the guy’s overestimation of his ability to quantify the cold and his dismissal of the tacit signs pointing to the rapidly descending temperatures: the old native informant’s advice, the dog’s odd behavior, his own blackening toes hidden under layers of socks (I added that detail). So I saw it as a story less of man-vs-the elements and more of man-vs-his own ego.

  3. Amanda says:

    Sabiha! Nice to see you here! Your take on it sounds better than my teachers’, because all I remember about reading that story in school was that dutifully taking notes on the “Man vs. Nature is one of the major types of conflicts that Great Literature is built from” angle.
    wolfa, yes, I admit, I am a wimp about cold weather. I completely lost my resistance to it in the course of two years in Virginia…